Ironically, it feels like we’ve heard more from Daft Punk since they broke up, in 2021, than we did in the years leading up to their split. They’re reissued albums - Homework and Random Access Memories - joined TikTok and, in the case of Thomas Bangalter, released solo material.
What they haven’t done, of course, is put out a new record, but if Random Access Memories session drummer Quinn is to be believed, that could could be a genuine possibility.
In an interview with alt.news 26:46, Quinn says of the album that Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo are said to have started working on in 2018: “I keep checking in. I’m told they’re working on it, it’s coming out of the locker." That’s a plot twist if ever we heard one, and the drummer has a little more to share, too.
“On ‘RAM’, I was pretty much the last person to come in on the record,” recalls Quinn. “All this work had been done, and I was just sort of doing some of the glue, icing in there. And then the next record they were working on, I was the first first person, the very first person, literally they were working on ideas.”
Describing the scene, Quinn goes on to say: “So Thomas had this keyboard, and actually he had a computer program, I forget what it was, and he was just experimenting. He was just hitting things; we were literally just trying to get vibes across. He was on the mixing board, I’m out in the studio on my weird drum set, and he would just hit a thing [makes beat noises] and whatever he would give me, I would answer and try to come up with something. We did that for a lot of pieces - really, some amazing things. And a lot of times I would be so excited.”
Sounds fun, and it turns out that, as well as “tons” of this more experimental stuff, Quinn was also asked to play “more ‘normal’ drums - you know, the ‘disco’” - before the arrival of another Random Access Memories alumnus.
“Paul Jackson Jr, who’s played guitar with everybody, came in and he played with me, and then I think one other guy came in doing winds.”
Other recollections from Quinn include him playing some ‘wacky’ drums, and Bangalter sitting at a piano that sounded electronic.
“That record in particular - the unnamed record - I think will be a lot of spontaneous things in there,” he says. “I remember playing this one thing - my piano board, that’s the insides of a piano. I put my kick drum pedal on the strings and played it like a kick drum. I remember those guys really loving that. I don’t know if it’ll make the record as it was the craziest, weird sounding thing.”
Quinn goes on to report that he recorded with Daft Punk for four or five days, and that the lost record currently “sits in limbo”. It might sound surprising that he’s talking so openly about it now, but he confirms that he sought the band’s permission to do so - “because they’re very secretive, as you know” - and was given the green light.
Which is certainly intriguing; perhaps Daft Punk have no intention of the releasing the album and are just having a little fun with us, or maybe a new record really is on the way? Your guess is as good as ours, but’s a mark of their enduring popularity that the merest suggestion of new material is enough to send fans into a frenzy. If the idea was to everyone’s attention, it’s job done.